How have dog breeds changed in recent decades?
Over the past decades, dog breeds have changed - for better or for worse?
Differently. For example, the dogs of my beloved Airedale Terrier breed began to comply with the international standard. They became not only softer and more flexible in character, but also decreased in size: the international standard indicates the height at the withers 5 cm less than the Soviet one, 61 cm maximum. But outwardly over the years the airedale has not changed. The decorating wool may have become more plentiful, but overall they have remained the same.
In the photo: Airedale 100 years ago and now
And how did the dog breeds change in general?
This is a rather complicated question and I cannot judge globally. I can say one thing: because, unlike the times of the Iron Curtain, the world became open, many high-level dogs in different breeds appeared in Belarus, many imported dogs. There was an opportunity to ride and exchange breeding material, and the situation with dogs in our country has changed radically.
Yes, some nostalgia is present at the time of DOSAAF, on training sites - it is bad that now people do not want to train dogs. It used to be unacceptable to have a large dog and not go to the playground with it, but now there isn’t such a thing - this is a change for the worse. But with regard to the quality of dogs, the whole world is open to those who want to work. And our dogs win a lot at the highest level shows.
I can tell the story of my breeder.She and I took the first dogs at the same time and met on a training ground. She was interested in exhibitions, breeding, tried to go to an interesting producer. But when representatives of other countries began to come to us around 1998 after Belarus joined the International Cynological Federation, we saw Airedale terriers from Europe and the USA, we fell into cultural shock and swore that we would have such dogs. And in 2000, I went to the European Championship, saw my breeder’s new dog and said to myself: perhaps I know in whose house my next airedale will be born. It was at the European Championships that the breeder looked after the future producer for her dog, and a puppy from this litter was acquired by an expert who judged the breed at the Championship - this probably says something. And all these years the kennel continued to develop, so now we have managed to get dogs that are bought for breeding by well-known breeders from other countries.
This is the story of just one nursery. But the same stories exist with Chow Chow, and with scotch terriers, and with griffins, and with Central Asian shepherd dogs, and with a mass of other breeds.
In the photo: Rottweiler 100 years ago and now
But what about the anxiety of veterinarians about the fact that the breeds do not always change for the better?
Of course, there are changes for the worse. For example, the German shepherd, which became a byword, and, probably, it is associated with changes in their anatomy.
In the photo: German shepherd 100 years ago and now
This is a very thin line - from a prosperous type to a hypertype.At some stage, the dog can no longer cope with excessive corners of the hind legs, and they are braided by a pigtail, or the nose becomes too short and even with an overhanging “bun”, or the forbrust turns into some kind of ugly formation in front of the dog, or the wrinkles become so a lot that this leads to skin diseases and so on. It’s important to understand that “most-most” is not always good.
Terriers, by the way, in this respect are one of the most successful breed groups (except, perhaps, for skin diseases in a number of terriers). They have no changes in terms of exaggeration of anatomical features, any wrinkles or problems with breathing, as in the Pekingese or bulldogs.
In the photo: English Bulldog 100 years ago and now
What is the reason for the changes that are not always favorable for dogs?
First of all, this is fashion and the desire to sell puppies more expensive.
Partly to blame for this, and experts, not just breeders. If the breeder sees that a certain type wins at the exhibitions, someone has the courage to say: “I have my own vision, I will continue to work,” and someone follows fashion. Here is the equal responsibility of both experts and breeders.
In the photo: Labrador 100 years ago and now
For example, I really do not like what is happening with the Great Dane. When they stopped their ears, it was a marker of dryness: a loose ear does not rise. When the ears were banned, most breeders went all out and it was painful to watch the dogs that entered the ring - they looked more like mastiffs, completely not reminding those handsome handsome dogs that should be.It would seem a trifle, but, in my opinion, the prohibition of stopping was the impetus, because when the ears were to stand, the breeders were forced to choose dry dogs for breeding.
To change the situation, you need to start with yourself: it is imperative that the dogs be tested for the diseases inherent in the breed, be honest with themselves and not bind dogs with hypertypes and sick dogs. There is a standard and a health framework that you must adhere to.
Recently, FCI issued circulars that require experts to pay increased attention to the health status, eyes, coat, skin, and breathing of dogs. So, I hope the situation will change for the better. This is just a mod that goes through.